Neil Young is rockin' in the Kickstarter world

Posted on April 10, 2014

It’s “after the gold rush” once again for Neil Young—only this time the gold rush is more than $5 million in Kickstarter-raised funds for the 68-year-old singer-songwriter’s new online digital music company.

Young’s PonoMusic crowdfunding campaign launched March 11 and, in slightly less than a month, has brought in $5.75 million, making it the third most funded campaign in Kickstarter’s five-year history. Pono had raised $2 million of that in its first Kickstarter day alone.

The campaign has “exceeded our expectations,” says PonoMusic CEO John Hamm.

“[By using crowdfunding], we have been able to unveil PonoMusic our way - directly to our customers,” Hamm says, adding that they’ve received more than 5,000 suggestions for Pono through the campaign’s 16,000-plus donors. “This is incredibly valuable consumer feedback and we will be a much better company [when we] launch.”

Pono, a Hawaiian word for “righteousness” according to Young, will offer an online music store and audio player—but with digital downloads of a higher sound quality than available through other mp3 providers such as iTunes. Young has described his vision for PonoMusic downloads as being comparable to original “master” tapes captured live at studio recording sessions.

“High quality digital is wonderful to hear and sense,” Young writes at Ponomusic.com. “It is the sound of the 21st Century. Almost no one has heard it outside the studio.”

Pono officials say its audio players—or, PonoPlayers--will be sold for $399 and will have the capacity to store between 1,000 and 2,000 hi-res digital music albums. The albums themselves will supposedly cost between $14.99 and $24.99.

No word yet as to when the Pono online music store will officially open.

Check out the above clip of Young unveiling a prototype PonoPlayer on The Late Show with David Letterman" in 2012.

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